Lap Full

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I’m begrudgingly still sober.  After two years one would think I’d finally forget about drinking.  Most days that statement is true. There’s still fleeting moments where the thought crosses my mind.

I miss being able to binge drink my way into oblivion, not caring about anything other than my next drink. I don’t get to check out anymore and some days it really sucks.

One of my jobs has drastically changed.  I have a new boss and several new coworkers.  The new boss part has been great as he gave me my own office  (I’m a part time temporary employee of 6 years) and left the others in their cubicles. He also gave me a 28% raise. I hadn’t had a raise in 5 years.  My old boss (whom was demoted after serving the company for 29 years) claimed it was impossible to get.

With the new coworkers comes challenges.  One is working with a 23 year old college graduate who knows everything and believes she has the power to change even the most dour personality into Susie Sunshine. This woman is the same age as my oldest daughter. I’m trying not to mother her but it’s tough.  I’m sure I was exactly like her at that age but it’s annoying most days.  I gave this person a year before she became  hardened to the corporate way of life.  It took her less than six months.

We have to work closely so we spend a good deal of time together.  This girl will not give one inch if she thinks her way is better. It’s hard for me not to want to bang my head on the wall as I say,  “sometimes experience knows more than education”. I never dreamed I’d be the old lady (I’m 47) giving wisdom to today’s youth.

This young woman is very much a loner in life. She doesn’t date and doesn’t have many friends. She prefers to do everything alone. She only tries to get to know people if she feels it will benefit her in some way.  She has no interest in my personal life and has gone so far as to leave mid conversation.

We are polar opposites.  I love getting to know people and work hard to earn their respect. I’m a people pleaser and have always put others before myself.

After 8 months butting heads with and observing her, she came to me for advice. I was shocked.  We had been on a business trip together where I saw her vulnerability.  She asked me to go out for drinks.  She had only half listened when I told her that I don’t drink anymore as I showed her my sobriety app that read 800 days. She tried to convince me that it would be ok for me to drink with her for just that night.  She proceeded to tell me how much fun I’d be if I drank.  It really pissed me off. Not because she wasn’t thinking about me as I knew how self centered she is,  but because I realized that I can never just go have drinks with anyone.  Sure I could go along and drink water but it’s not the same.

Every day,  I try to remember that this person was put here to teach me something.  I have decided it is patience.

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2 Whole Years

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Staying sober is easier than getting sober. That saying brings me back to the numerous times I decided I wasn’t going to drink again.  The first couple of days were easy because I was still in the throes of the hangovers from Hell. The kind that make you want to crawl out of your skin and beg to be someone, anyone else who wasn’t feeling that way. I’d  be dehydrated from a three day binge and not be able to eat until day three, which was the day my physical self started to feel better but I had to deal with anxiety for at least the next 5 days. Before my own episodes of anxiety,  I had always thought anxiety was something that could be controlled if you put your mind to it.  I found out that it’s one of the things that could bring me to my knees. It was devastating to have my mind so out of control.  Most of my frayed thoughts revolved around how horrible of a person I was because of my drinking episodes. I would panic as I tried to replay what I had said and done while black out drunk.

My resolve to stay dry usually lasted two weeks.  By the end of that second week I would be feeling better and decide I could moderate my drinking.  The first drink would go down pretty slowly so I would convince myself that I was in control.  I would spend the next couple of drinks feeling pissy because I knew I was close to the limit I had set.  Once I passed that limit,  all bets were off for when I would stop.  The vicious cycle of my binge drinking continued. If I stopped,  it wasn’t long before I had to start again because my body would be nauseous,  shaking and begging for just one more drink because that was going to make everything better.

I don’t know why I stopped binge  drinking on November 2, 2013. I mean,  I know why I stopped after that last binge but I don’t know why this time was different from any other.  Maybe it was because I gave myself enough time away from drinking to realize how much better I felt staying sober. 

I still have days that suck. Every day doesn’t feel like the best day of my life but it’s better than the hell that I was living.

Even after two years of waking up sober, I haven’t committed to never drinking again.  For now, I’m happy with,  “I’m not drinking today”.

365 Days

anniversaryThere never really was a rock bottom other than I knew that I couldn’t continue on with life the way I was living it.  My last days drinking consisted of me being blatoed from Thursday until Saturday night.  I spent most of Saturday in and out of the blackness, fighting with my boyfriend at his apartment as we watched football.  Somewhere around 4 pm I decided that I had better sober up.  This brought about more arguing with my boyfriend and I felt volatile toward the world and it showed.  I spewed hate at the boyfriend deflecting my negative feelings for myself onto him.  He quickly grew tired of my ranting and told me to leave.  This infuriated me more because he knew how much I had been drinking and there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to drive the hour to my house.  I angrily gathered my stuff yelling the entire time and slammed the door behind me.

I had a rental car because mine was being fixed so I was unfamiliar with the vehicle. I decided that I would sleep it off in the parking lot of the apartment complex.  Great place to crash since the building is inhabited by former homeless veterans and is 95% male.  Being that is was the beginning of the month, most had received their state assistance and they were partying it up.   I ended up sleeping for 6 hours and made the decision that I had to go home because it was so cold outside and I was freezing.

I had left the boyfriend’s on several occasions before and all of them included excessive drinking.  Normally when I left, I would drive a block to a factory parking lot and wait it out knowing he would call or text me that he was sorry and wanted me to come back.  He never called or responded to my hate texts that night so I was destined to make the drive.

Driving at night is hard for me when I haven’t been drinking.  I was thankful that I felt sober but looking back, I doubt that six hours of sleeping was enough to get the alcohol out of my system.  I contemplated calling my mom and having her make the drive to get me but I really wasn’t up to her seeing what I’d become.  Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic and the cold air from the window helped keep me alert.  I thank God every single day that I didn’t hit and kill someone that night.  My guardian angel was watching over me for sure.

Once I got home, I crawled into bed and tried to get warm.  I took a Xanax which a doctor had prescribed for me knowing that my anxiety was caused by alcohol.  It was probably not the smartest thing to do but it was the only thing that I knew would help stop the shaking and anxiety after my binge.  I made the decision amidst tossing and turning that I wasn’t going to drink for a long time.

The next morning brought a calm to me.  I didn’t know how I was going to stay sober but I knew I would find a way.  I couldn’t live my life binge drinking.  I apologized profusely to my boyfriend and told him that I was done drinking.  I’m sure he thought I meant for the next couple of weeks like my pattern had showed for the last couple of years.

Being sober was tough for the first 6 months.  Not because I was an everyday drinker but because I realized how much I had looked forward to what binge drinking did for me.  It allowed me to check out completely from life and ignore everything besides the booze.  This was the pattern every other weekend for two years.  I looked forward to spending time with my boyfriend but I realize now that I was really excited about being black out drunk with him.  I knew he would take care of me and even get me more booze when I asked.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes miss those days.

What I don’t miss is the terrifying anxiety that alcohol caused me for a week or more after I stopped drinking on those weekends.  The headaches are gone and there has not been one morning in the last year that I didn’t wake up grateful for being sober.

Every morning after drinking, I’d wake up loathing myself and my life. Not once have I  regretted not drinking this past year. Life is good!

Sober Isn’t Easy…But It’s Better than Drunk

317 days have passed without so much as a drop of alcohol passing my lips.  I hadn’t given that much thought until yesterday afternoon when I was doing yard work.  I remembered that last summer I spent every other weekend obliterated out of my mind from Thursday through Sunday night.  Most Sundays were slept away trying to ward off the hangovers of the century.  I could never mow on Sunday.  I was left to sweat out the toxins during the week.

Anyway, I was thinking about how much I wanted to drink on my way home from work on Friday.  Exhaustion always brings me to wanting to numb and check out.  At this stage of the game, I can wait those feelings out by reminding myself of how horrible hangovers were for me. Waking up every morning sober and not wanting to crawl out of my own skin is worth it’s weight in gold.

Sometimes my mind races thinking about the next time I will be challenged.  I have to remind myself to stay in the moment and not get ahead of myself.  It will all work out.  I had a three day garage sale last weekend and met some pretty cool people.  One of which I hit it off right away with.  She is slightly older than myself (I’m 45).  She bought a chair from me which I delivered the half a block to her house.  She was so thankful and immediately invited me down to have a glass of wine.  I must have looked panicked because she asked, “You do drink wine, don’t you?”  I awkwardly responded that I don’t and immediately felt like the unpopular girl at the school dance.  She asked if I drink coffee.  I’ve been caffeine free for over 8 years.  “I drink water,” grasping at not wanting to be a total party pooper.  Gah!  Sober isn’t always easy but at least I’m in control of my awkwardness and making a fool of myself all on my own sans booze.

Side Effects Part Deux

I made it through another rough patch and I’m still sober. Whew! Waiting out those feelings really does work no matter how unpleasant it feels. Feeling is the key I suppose since I block those feelings by drinking normally.

Anyway, on to my side effects list.

Side effects of drinking

° The first couple of drinks are relaxing then I go into black out and have absolutely no clue what is going on for hours at a time. I’ve awakened with bruises so black it’s a wonder I didn’t hemorrhage. How I never broke a bone or my teeth is a miracle.

°Regretting things I’ve done while drinking. Like the time I passed out in front of a friend’s mobile home and bent the skirting. I can only imagine how many people drove by and saw me lying slumped over in front of his place sprawled all over in the middle of the afternoon.

° Passing out after 3 drinks but continuing to drink the second my eyes open.

° Missing work on Monday because I’ve been on a 3 day bender and can’t handle the anxiety that these binges cause.

° Wondering how many people know my secret.

° Worrying if I have enough alcohol to see me into oblivion and if there’s a little extra to “help” my hangover.

° Missing some of my daughters’ activities because I chose drinking instead of them.

° Having lengthy phone conversations with my mother and not remember any of it. Then wondering how wasted I sounded to her.

° Sleeping in my car in empty parking lots because I was so obnoxious that my boyfriend kicked me out and I was too drunk to drive.

° Being embarrassed in front of my daughters.

° Thinking that I am actually sexy and acting on it. Going so far as to allow pictures to be taken that I would never have allowed when sober.

° Self hated and lack of confidence.

Benefits of Sobriety

° Waking up without a hangover. I can’t express how grateful I am when I open my eyes in the morning and feel amazing. No remorse or regret.

° Saving money. It makes me ill to think about how much money I wasted on booze.

° Not missing a day of work in almost 9 months.

° Work opportunities knocking on my door because I’m able to focus on my jobs instead of when I’m having my next drink.

° Knowing that I can drive a car at anytime of the day or night. Knowing that I can be there to help anyone who is in need.

° A clean and organized house and yard.

° Taking advantage of every single day because I’m not wasting my life being sloth like.

° Feeling in control of my mind and body at all times.

° Being a good role model for both of my daughters.

° Learning to love myself despite my faults.

If you can get a little bit of sobriety under your belt you will see that there is so much more to life. I’m still a work in progress but I’m a lot better off than I was 9 months ago.

Side Effects

I’ve been thinking a lot about the side effects of drinking and being sober.  However, I’ve somehow gotten waylay-ed the last few days.  I WANT TO DRINK!!!  I want to be able guzzle down that first drink and feel the numbness as it takes over my entire body.  I want to know that I can stop at 3 drinks.  Here’s what I don’t want: I don’t want to fade away into the black out.  I don’t want to wake up at 2 AM feeling guilt ridden, dehydrated and thirsty only to start the cycle again.  I don’t want to forget what I’ve said the night before.  I don’t want to lose 265 days of sobriety. This entire paragraph sounds like a childish rant.  I guess that’s exactly what it is.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my boyfriend.  We get along famously until he drinks.  He’s been great about not drinking when he’s at my place.  Last weekend I went to his apartment, my former drinking place where I’ve spent countless weekends completely obliterated.  I’ve stayed away from there because I knew that my “fuck it button” was easily pushed while I’m there.  Anyway, I survived a night with him “having a few beers” as he says.  In reality, he drank 4 tall boys (25 ounces each or 8 regular beers. Compared to our normal 15 each, it was a light night. Side note, what normal drinker has to count others’ drinks?).  Every time he cracked one open, I was reminded that I’ve become the dull girl that I never wanted to be.  I made it through the night and decided to leave the next morning when he cracked a beer at 9:30 AM.  I give him credit because if it had been me drinking, I would’ve had one at 2:30 AM.

We were apart a night and he came to my place the next day.  I don’t allow him to drink at my house and he hasn’t until he asked if he could tonight.  I told him he needed to go home and drink, hoping with all my heart that he would choose to stay with me instead of leaving to drink.  He chose alcohol.  The part that is the most fucked up is that he has been trying to get me to drink knowing how much not drinking has helped me. He bought extra beer last weekend thinking he could entice me to drink.  He said he still misses drinking with me and the fun times we had.  Most of those times were fun only for him.  I don’t remember much after the 3rd drink.

So, I’m pissy and irritated.  I’ve read many blogs about how 9 months seems to be a tough time.  I suppose it’s because your brain tells you that you don’t have a problem.  You’ve gone this long and you’ve learned your lesson.  Thankfully, I’m not listening to that voice because I know what would happen.  The first night I would only have a few and convince myself that I’d been wrong and didn’t have a problem and I’d be so proud of myself.  I’d get up at 2 AM and start drinking all over again beginning the binge drinking cycle that has plagued me for over 2 years.

I know I won’t drink tonight but I also know that I’m unhappy about it.  Tomorrow will come and I’ll be so thankful that I didn’t give in and ruin the last 265 days of sobriety.  Tomorrow can’t come fast enough.

Monday, Monday…Can’t Trust That Day

I realized on my way to work this morning that I no longer loathe Mondays.  I’m not saying I rejoice upon waking on Mondays but life sure has gotten easier not having to deal with drinking. Most of my weekends were spent black out drunk for days.  The only way I could make myself feel physically better was to drink some more.  I would wake up Sunday morning at 2:30 AM and think that I was not going to drink.  That usually lasted about an hour after dealing with dry heaves, sweating, shaking and all out anxiety.  So, I’d drink one drink which made me feel slightly better so I’d have another.  This was the perfect cure…for about an hour and a half.  Then the cycle began all over.  So, Sunday was spent trying to feel human again.  I usually ended up drinking way too much because as we all know, one is too many and a hundred’s not enough.

By the time Monday rolled around, I knew I had to get myself together so I could get to work.  On the days I did make it, I was a mess.  I wanted to crawl out of my own skin.  I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror and wondered what other people saw and thought of me.  Could people tell that I felt like someone was stirring my insides with a stick, including my brain?  I couldn’t eat and could barely hold down water.  I realize now that I was in severe dehydration.  Having not eaten for 3 days doesn’t do wonders for your electrolytes and insulin levels.

It took me 5-7 days to start feeling normal after these binges.  But, once I did feel better, the booze called to me.  I convinced myself that I would do things differently next time.  I would drink lots of water and eat while gobbling copious amounts of vitamin B12.  I would pace myself and only drink one drink an hour.  This brought me right back to lying on the bathroom floor hoping that the world will stop spinning so I could get off.

I patted myself on the back for not drinking because the thought did cross my mind on Saturday.  The thought was fleeting, but it was there none the less.  Today I realized that so much of my life has become less complicated because of sobriety.

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